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Exploring Post-Graduate Feelings: Pandemic Edition

Updated: May 25, 2021

By ALYSSA JURIS | Staff Writer

Alyssa Juris (senior)

A sense of community, routine, friendly faces, and the four gates that line LIU Brooklyn have instantly been swept from beneath me as I transition my tassel to the other side.

‘What are your plans post graduation?’

The six words that bring a rush of excitement to a screeching halt.

The lingering question arises as I am holding myself back from murmuring the words, “I don’t know.”

Over the past year, I have been transitioning from being a subway ride away to the Empire State Building to a mere 20 hour car ride.

As I frantically found myself replacing my juvenile filled walls to a suitable zoom background, labeling my childhood home as my senior year oasis seemed like a fever dream.

Checking off the last of my New York City bucket list, staying out until sunrise or uncovering thrifting heartthrobs was not in my senior-year plans.

The trend of returning home as a ‘rising adult’ isn’t new in the pandemic era. Bloomberg reported this number doubling over the last two decades, for 25-to-34-year-olds living with their parents--nearly 22%.

As the pandemic only led to an influx of millennials fleeing towards the comfort of their childhood homes, the economy continues to put manageable adulthood milestones in disarray. The traditional ways of marriage, homebuying, and kids don’t fit into the equation millennials already find themselves in; wage gaps, burdensome college debt from increased tuition costs, and previous recessions in 2001 and 2008.

Consequently, the Washington Post even went as far to label Millennials the “unluckiest generation” compared to Boomers and Gen X’ers.

As I lie in the divide between the titles of Millennials and Generation Z-- both have experienced the slowest economic growth.

The tragic economic uncertainty only feels safe under a shared roof with my parents. Specifically due to altered urban living tendencies. As a result, my tight knit-friend-group of five resides across the U.S. instead in our beloved Brooklyn neighborhood. I discovered a newfound respect for the outdoors, consuming home-cooked meals at the dinner table, and rekindling my love-hate-relationship with driving.

Nevertheless, the light at the end of the tunnel creeps closer as 35% of Americans are reported fully-vaccinated, unemployment has decreased to nearly 10% for 20-to-24-year olds, and LIU-Brooklyn announced graduation to take place in-person, at the traditional venue of Barclay Center, May 20th, 2021.

Despite the freedom calling from the other side of the graduation stage; emotionally I feel stuck in lost opportunities due to the pandemic. The abrupt study abroad closure, internship cancellations, and my new relationship with zoom, has blurred the lines to where my next steps I previously dreamt of, still stand.

How does one feel eager to adventure towards taking on new risks or mistake-making ways through adulthood, when surrounded by their childhood environment? The push-pull effect of becoming an adult is outweighed by my roots taking control.

Merely 46% of Gen Z adults acknowledge a decline in their mental health throughout the pandemic. With isolation on the rise, Gen Z and Millenials both sought emotional support more than older generations. Consequently, significant physical impacts were reported, about 3 in 4 Gen Z or Millenial adults saw unwanted weight gain since the start of the pandemic.

Furthermore psychologist Susan Anderer dissects the transitional phase dilemma. Anderer mentions in Bloomberg the ‘adult feeling’ in correlation to living independently or being financially stable or having a career, which coronavirus has paused unexpectedly.

“At any developmental stage there’s a push-pull,” Anderer says. “There’s a push to want to move forward developmentally and also a tug backwards, because growing up is scary; it’s the unknown, you don’t know what it looks like on the other side.”

As the other side approaches quickly and I’ll soon reach LIU-Alumni status, I reflect on how far I have come since my first step on campus, Aug. 2017. The 16-year-old girl inside of me is screaming knowing that I was able to call myself a true ‘New-Yorker’ for as long as I did. Admittedly my dreams are constantly changing, but my love for New York City has only grown stronger.

As my dear friend Carrie Bradshaw once said, “ The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.”

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